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It all began in my 7th grade health when I was arguing with my teacher that you CAN pee with an erection (he was saying it's impossible), I'm sure you all have woken up with morning wood and have gone to take a piss and found it although awkward, possible to do. Anyways, as we dropped the argument I hear this soft little melody playing behind me. I turn around to see a kid named Karl playing this gray brick looking thing under his desk. I was instantly curious and a conversation ensued which sorta went like this; but don't hold me to it...this was almost 20 years ago.

"I say ol' chap, what is that large device you're toiling with". (Like I said, it was almost 20 years ago, so I'm not sure if I was aware of the Game Boy.

Karl replied: "Why, it's the brand new Nintendo Game Boy. It's a portable 8-bit gaming system that allows you to swap games just like the NES. And unlike those crappy Tiger Electronics games, these games are totally made of pixels just like the NES as well. I'm currently trying to conquer the vast terrain of Super Mario Land."

SUPER MARIO LAND?! Around that second time stopped, my eyes widened to the size of Paris Hilton's ego, and I even believe I peed a little. I was ecstatic. A new Mario game?! It had been at least a year since I had gotten my fix with Super Mario Bros. 2, and when he said Super Mario Land I strongly recall shitting bricks. And if I'm correct they were light gray in color.

I asked Karl if I could try out his Game Boy. Being the swell fella he was, he kindly obliged. As I held the machine in my hand I thought, "man this thing just feels GOOD." It was nice and solid, and had a decent weight to it. I flicked he power switch on, and watched in glee ass the Game Boy logo descended to the center of the screen, followed by the angelic chime we have all come to know and love. Then came the title screen. As most readers of my site know, my favorite game ending of all time is Super Mario Bros. 2, simply because it has a full screen animated drawing of a dreaming Mario. So imagine my surprise when I see a cool little pixel drawing of Mario peeking over a billboard that boldy said "Super Mario Land."

Within 2.5 seconds of hitting start I was hooked. Super Mario Land followed the same concept as the original Super Mario Bros., something I had been terribly missing for four years. I assume most of you know the Super Mario Bros. 2 story, and why it was so different from Mario 1 (info here) so to get another game like the original Super Mario Bros. was a dream come true for a little kid like me. Most of the original's gameplay elements were there: Super Mushrooms, Fireflowers, stomping Koopas, pipes, and coin collecting. But since Super Mario Land was a simpler version, there were sometimes limitations in the gameplay. You weren't able to the kick the Koopa shells after stomping on them. Instead they would flicker for a few seconds, then blow up like a bomb. But there were some advancements. After obtaining a Fireflower, you would now have the ability to throw "superballs". Once you shot a superball it would travel at a 45˚ angle and ricochet around the screen, killing whatever it would hit. As an added bonus Superballs would collect coins if they came in contact with them, and were sometimes required to snag out-of-reach coins.

Some of the original Mario enemies returned including Koopa Troopas, Goobas, and Pirahna Plants, but for whatever reason their names were never translated from Japanese to English. So instead of Koopa Troopas we got Nokobons, and Goombas were now called Chibibos. There were also tons of other strange enemies that would never see the light of day in another Mario game. Super Mario Land also had some oddly themed world's, including an Easter Island Head  world. It was also the first game to feature shooter elements, as Mario not only helmed a underwater submarine and spaceship. The reason the game was so different from the original SMB was because it wasn't created by Shigeru Miyamoto, but rather his mentor Gunpei Yokoi. In fact Mr. Yokoi was the inventor of the Game Boy (and the Virtual Boy, but we'll pretend that never existed).

Now that you know a little history about the game, here's the part where I tell you about the day I got my Gameboy. It was my birthday, and I had been reminding my parents for weeks what I wanted. We were having my birthday party at Dad's house (parents are divorced, I bet almost all of you in the same pisition know you almost always get more presents this way as one parent tried to out-do the other ).  My Dad picked me up that night, and I asked him to stop at Caldor on the way to his house. Caldor was just another rip-off K-Mart store that has since gone out of business. I ran in and came out guessed it, Super Mario Land! ($19.99 back then) He asked me why I bought the game, since I didn't  even have a Gameboy. I looked at him with those "Don't play stupid with me eyes." He laughed and we were on our way again. It was at that moment I knew he had gotten it for me, or else he would have made me return it.

To make an even longer story short, I blew my candles out  before the cake even hit the table. As my various family members put my presents before me, I frantically looked for a certain shape within them all, as I had stared at many a Gameboy box at each K-Mart, Caldor, and Toys 'R Us through the months.

I opened all my presents, and to my disappoint, no utter destruction I had not received a Gameboy.  I heard some chuckling going on behind me, and turned around to see my Dad with devilish grin on his face. He casually walked over to the dining room table, and pulled out a small box that was hidden on the seat of one of the chairs.  My heart was pounding, he had tricked me the old bastard! My sadness turned to glee as I tore off the wrapping paper in record time, and there it was.... I box of socks. Just kidding! My very own Gameboy!

I believe that was a Friday night, and I didn't bath, sleep or eat that weekend as I became lost in the land of Super Mario and Tetris. To this day I still go a round with Super Mario Land, but as my forum members know, my most beloved game on the Gameboy is Link's Awakening, especially the DX Gameboy color version.

Have a Gameboy story you would like to tell Randy? Email him @


I recently received this email from a fan: (and the best written of them all)

My parents don't like the fact that i'm madly in love with videogames. so when i  asked them,"If I get the money,can I buy a Wii?" they said no. another problem  is that they give me 2 HOURS limited gameplay:( ! i need 5 hours just to unlock  Daxter as a racer in JakX:Combat Racing! I'd like 12-13 hours at least! Here's  an equation for ya: (Me+Videogames)+My parents=problems. Do you have any advice?  I'll except any answer including,"Just listen to your parents!" I know you got a  lot of work to do so i'll stop clinging to you like a lost puppy. I'll call  only once a month(or atleast i'll try). Ta for now, King Randy! I hope I don't  sound like a total jerk to you,you know the way I talked about my parents.
Notice he tells me he'll "accept any answer including just listen to your parents". But this is me he's writing to, and I'm not exactly the best role model in the world. So what was my reply to him? "Do what I used to do, stay up real late until your parents go to bed, then sneak out and play your games!"

This email sparked a distant memory of mine, and is the reason you're reading this new Flashback! article.
Back in my prime NES days, around 1985-86, I would experience what this kid did on many occasions.  I would want to play a game so bad, but my parents wouldn't let me.  This was usually due to the fact that they wanted something more important finished first. Now to a 10 year old Nintendo freak this is worse then hell...

One of the worst times I can remember was the day I got Popeye for the NES.  It was early Summer, and my dad brought me over to Toys 'R Us where I bought the game for $19.99. (I can't believe I can remember what I paid for a game 20 years ago, yet I can't remember what I did 20 minutes ago) So I get home, and am so excited to play my new Popeye game. I had played it in the arcades, and loved it. I sit down, pop it in the NES (probably had to blow in it a few times first) and the game fires up. Just when I'm about to play, my Dad pops in the room. "Did you do Shannon's paper route?" Sh*t! The day before, a friend of mine had asked me if I could do her paper route for the week while she was on vacation. She told me she was gonna give me $20 to do i, andt I was like "sure!", money for a new game right? So of course I totally forgot about it since all I had was Popeye on my mind. And that's how it went all week. I would be having a blast playing Popeye and my Dad would come in telling me to get my ass in gear and go do the paper route.  And you know what the real bitch about all this was? When she got back the little bitch never even paid me! To this day I still wish I had whined to her parents about the money.

Other times I wasn't allowed to play my games were just as painful. Usually I wasn't allowed to play until after my homework was done, or I'd be punished/grounded* and wasn't allowed to play at all. So how did I get around the punishment? I'd wake up late at night, creep out into the living room, and play the NES at a real low volume. Some nights I'd get away with it, but most of the time I'd get caught and get my ass beat. But it was worth it!

Another time I recall being tortured was back in 1989. I had just gotten my Sega Genesis for Christmas.  The day after I got the system I went and bought Ghouls 'N Ghosts at KB Toy Store (for $70!) I was allowed to play the system all through Christmas break, but once the week was over, it was back to school. You see my grades weren't all that good. And my Dad wouldn't let me play my new Genesis until they improved. Way to go Dad! Buy me a Genesis for Christmas that I can't even play.  So what he did was hide it somewhere in the house so I couldn't sneak and play it while he was out. Well, me being as sleuthy and sneaky as I am, I searched that place high and low until I found it. Turns out it was all packed up in its box and hidden in the back of the hallway closet. Real clever Dad.  So whenever I knew he would be out for a lengthy period of time, I'd unpack the thing and play til my fingers bled!

So to the kid who wrote me that email, I feel your pain buddy, I do... Just remember to set your alarm to 3 A.M. in the morning so you can play all you want!

*This article is dedicated to my dearest older sister whom:
Not only took the blame for many things I did and got punished for it (after some crafty conning by yours truely) but also helped me beg my parents at Toys R Us for my first (ours?) NES!
"Jade, I don't know who set all the bushes on fire or  put the hole in the car seat with the cigarette lighter, or who cracked you in the head with the dumbbell, or fell from the top of the bunk bed. It wasn't me so it must have been you. Go tell Mommy and Daddy while I go ride my cool banana boat-seat bike in circles like a moron out front"

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esident Evil came out in the U.S. for the original Playstation in March of 1996. I was working at Sears in the Funtronics department at the time. The Funtronics department was Sears' video game section. This was a great job, mostly because I could play any video game I wanted. And since it was a few months after Christmas, things were very slow. So I basically just stood and played video games eight hours a day!

    I remember reading about Resident Evil in magazines, and was dying to play the game. The day it came out, I actually had to go down to EB Games in the mall to get it. Sears' sucked when it came to video games. Not only were their prices outrageous (sometimes $15 more then other stores for a game), but we didnt get new releases in until two weeks after a game came out. So instead of being able to buy it at Sears' with my "huge" 10% discount, I had to go get it at EB.

   So I was at work that day, and, started feeling sick. By noon I was running to the bathroom every half hour if you catch my drift ;)  I got done work around 5, and raced home to play RE. By then I was feeling really sick, turns out it was the flu.

  By that point, my body was hurting so bad that all I could move was my thumbs.  I couldn't sleep since I was so what did I do? I played Resident Evil for 24 hours straight.  My cousin Erik was excited about the game, so he came over and stuck it out with me until we beat it.

  We were so hooked that after beating it once, we went through again...and again.  The creepy halls of the mansion, and the rooms of it's guest houses became another home for us since we spent so much time playing.

  This game still holds a place in my heart in my history of gaming. And who can forget the first time the dog jumps out of that window and scared the shit out of you. (especially with the stereo turned up.)

  Resident Evil 1 for the PS will always be one of my favorite games of all time....


Ah yes, I remember it well. And most likely it was because of that last damn Hammer Brother before I fought the final Bowser in Super Mario Bros. No wait, maybe it was that friggin' red flying devil I could never get past in Ghosts 'N Goblins...anyway It's what I call Classic Gaming Aggravation, and alot of my controllers suffered terribly from it.  I'm sure most of you have done the "chomp on the controller" move.  I got my NES from Toys 'R Us the summer of 1985. As a young, dumb lad I have chomped down on many an NES controller in an immature rage.  I have also thrown them into walls, and once, broke out a window with a NES MAX, while aiming for the wall. (Mom didn't like that very much)  I even recall throwing my nintendo across the room. And I was reminded of my stupidity every few years when I had to paint my room. You see, I was too lazy to patch up the indent the NES made, so I would just paint into the crevice.

Another fun activity I had growing up seemed to be smashing a controller against my skull, since I seemed to do it often. Today, I blame my attention span of a guppy on the self inflicted cranium blows I received from NES and Genesis controllers. I swear to this day I can faintly make out the circular imprint of the N64 analog stick. A controller I only had to realize once, was not a good one for smashing upon thy head.

 I hope you enjoyed my video gaming aggravations of my youth, and I hope some of you have a story to share.

The Best Known Easter Eggs of Classic Gaming  11-12-04

I believe one of the first games to have Easter Eggs hidden in it was the first Super Mario Bros. for the NES. An easter egg is a secret or hidden bonus placed within a game or movie. The funny thing is that all the Easter Eggs in Super Mario Bros. weren't even placed there by the developers, they were actually glitches, or "bugs".  Bugs are basically errors in  games or software, missed by the developers.
Perhaps the most famous easter egg of all time is the "Minus World" trick of SMB.  By jumping and having the back of Super Mario's head touch a brick in level 1-2, you could get Mario sucked through a pipe and a wall of bricks in to the Warp Zone area. But what was different about this warp zone was that the game didn't recognize you as being there yet, so when you go down the first pipe, you end up in a level that simply labels itself World -1, or as everyone calls it, the Minus World. The Minus World is just the water level from World 2-2, but the problem is it never ends. Once you beat it, you start all over again from the beginning.  I have such fond memories of of this trick from my childhood, that I used it as a key scene in my Rise of the Mushroom Kingdom 2 movie. Back in 1985 I heard a rumor about this trick, and wrote a letter to email to Nintendo asking them about it. A few weeks later, not only did I receive a few photocopied pages of all the tricks in Super Mario Bros., but I also received an awesome Mario sticker. Now that's what I call caring for your fans!

Another one of my favorites as a kid was jumping over the flagpole in level 3-3. Most have done this with a game genie or other cheat device that enables mario to  jump super high, bu  I did it a few times the hard way. At the end of level 3-3 there are two platforms suspended by a cable, forming a a balancing scale. What you have to do is  jump on the first one, letting it drop down while raising the second one up. At the last second, right before the platform detaches, you have to jump to the high righ platform, then jump over the flagpole.  It's very hard to do, and requires precise timing, but it can be done.  I've heard many stories about what happens after you jump over, but I can tell you for a fact once you make it over, all you can do is run endlessly to the right until time runs out. The castle wall also repeats endlessly above you.

There are tons of other tricks and glitches, such as the infamous Koopa Shell 1-Up trick in level 3-1.  If you would like to check out the many easter eggs of SMB, head over to the Super Mario Bugs/Glitches page at the Mushroom Kingdom website


In my opinion, they just don't make video game sountracks like they used to. Sure, every now and then there's a sweet game with a tune that stands out...but when I think about it, they never come close to the catchy tunes of my favorite classics.

I still hum tunes from the Super Mario Bros. series, Zelda series, and all the songs from Sonic the Hedgehog 1. I will never forget the Starlight, Green Hill, and Marble Zone stage tunes. I actually use to blast Sonic's songs so loud while playing, that I blew out both speakers on my stereo once! Yoshi's Island in my opinion had some of the best tunes ever heard in a video game...which is why I have some set to ring tones on my phone.

Some games even had unforgettable game ending scores.  I can still hum the entire endings to games such as Super Mario Land, Super Mario 3, and Revenge of Shinobi.

Don't get me wronng though, some games even up to a few years ago have remarkable soundtracks.  One example is Conker's Bad Fur Day. This game actually had songs I could burn to CD and listen to in my truck. (Rock Solid Techno anyone?

Instilling New Life Into Played-Out Games  9-20-04

Darren Driver (of and I were recently discussing how much we love creating our own VG backgrounds for our movies.  Creating these backgrounds, and sprites is something we never dreamed we'd be able to do when we were kid.  I would have loved to create my own levels back then. This turned into a conversation about how we found ways to make our old games fun to play again. 

1. The Game Genie: Putting in crazy codes actually allowed you to play crazy mixed up levels (one code i made turned all bricks to clouds, as a big mario freak this was like a whole new game to me!)

2. The Sonic the Hedgehog 1 debug code: Anyone remember this for the Sega Genesis? It's done by pressing up C, down C, left C, and then right C at  the title screen.  You then hold the "A" button until the game starts. You will know you've done the code right if you see a bunch of screen coordinates numbers in the top corner.  Various button presses will let you scroll through sprites and place them on the game screen.  After I got bored of Sonic, this code was mentioned in a magazine, I think EGM. What the code did was allow you to place objects (trees, rocks, etc.) where you wanted them, and also allowed you to place enemies. My favorite thing to do was spell my name out of rings. You could also place Sonic high above a level, then drop him. Doing this over and over made him go faster and faster...I use to do it on the Starlight zone (my fav level) and drop sonic high above a ramp. He would go so fast he would run off the screen and screw the whole game up.

Imagine if they put a debug code in a game like Super Mario World? That would have been awesome. When I got Mario Paint back in 1991 I use to spend hours making my own Super Mario levels with the stamp edit tool. (i think this is why i'm so good at making my own backgrounds, editing sprites etc.)